I’m a “Prepper”–Are You?

I’m a “prepper” but with no bunker or ammo or supply stock (other than fabric).  I’m not prepping for the end of the world but I am prepping for the first winter blizzard. Here in Colorado it is very hard to believe that it is even fall let alone winter. But a dear friend (I think she is still a friend even though she totally destroyed the order I had just put into the sewing studio. :/) has given me BAGS of fabric and “stuff” to go through.  I don’t mean little grocery bags, I mean trash bags! Six of them!


Bags of friendship!

There were yardages, starts and stops of projects, kits, scraps, books and one whole bag of Christmas fabric.  It is enough to keep me busy all winter.  I’m ready for a little snow on the ground to keep me in the house. If you know me at all, you know I have never met a shade of green that I didn’t like but would you believe that in all those piles there was only ONE piece of green.  Guess I’ll be OK working with the bag of fall colors. 🙂


Lonely Green

All of us have projects that we start and then put away for a while (Tell me I’m not alone in this).  A couple of these were put away for good reason (not working out as planned), but some I’m sure were just not on a deadline.  So I’m thinking about imposing a deadline on myself to finish these up.  I can’t let my sister in on the decision because she knows my procrastination skills are excellent. The first special treat to work on are the squares of embroidery that are completely finished. They await a special setting that will of course use some of the bag fabrics.


Embroidery blocks

I know a little girl that is REALLY in need of a new quilt for her big-girl bed.  She might like the mouse, or the bear, or the A-B-Cs.  I know that she would like some fabric out of the purple bag.


Girl without a quilt.

Other pieces are not my favorites. As my mom would tell me, “Don’t say “Ugh!”  until you’ve tried it.” But I’m prepping for winter not for a character building session, so I’ll pass them on to be used as backs for a charity quilt or book bags for the kids.


Ugly fabric. Ummm, backing pieces.

There was even a challenge inside the bags and Sister knows I can’t resist a challenge.  I’ve seen the block in magazines but never attempted it before.  Someone made an excellent start on the 3″ nine-patch blocks set into hexagons and even sent along the extra pieces.  I can just see this finished with maybe some very large wool applique on it.  Back to the design board after I finish this little start up.


Fun in a bag.

I do have one last confession to make.  I’m keeping something just because.  I have no plan for these blocks.  I have no purpose for them.  They don’t match anything in my house.  But who wouldn’t want to look at butterflies in the middle of the winter and that’s what I’m preparing for.


Wouldn’t they look great with black sashing?!

I’ve got extra needles, now if I can just find a sale on thread before the snow flies I’ll be prepped and ready to be house-bound for a few days.  How are you prepping for winter?

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Hanky Folding – Origami Fabric

Tutorial Tuesdays header

“No! Stop! Wait!” When Sister uses that expression I know it is time to put down the scissors and listen.  I heard it when I was going through a pile of vintage handkerchiefs.  Not her cigar box treasures but very similar. I also heard, “DON’T use them for their intended purpose; launder gently; practice your pressing; and make them pretty.”  So I did my research and went to folding origami-style dresses.


Origami dresses


These are photos of my “in process” work but the best tutorial I found was here. She has full photos and good tips.



The folds and creases will guide you as you make each dress.


Take it step by step – side creases and center creases coming together – the dress takes shaper easier than you might think.

I did use spray starch before I began and it helped the pressing a lot.  So now what do you do with a dozen of these darling wardrobe items?  I began putting them into a birthday quilt for a precious princess who turns one this month.



To applique, I sprayed with quilt basting spray and then used invisible thread and a straight stitch along the edge and across the middle.  I liked the “dimensional” part of the skirt and bodice; had this quilt been for anyone but a baby, I would have embellished with ribbon, pearls, buttons, etc.  Best tip: use handkerchiefs all the same size.

The background block was an 8 1/2″ x 10 1/2″ rectangle.

Sashing was a 2 1/2″ x 8 1/2″ (10 1/2″) strip with a snowball type corner.

Setting stones were 2 1/2″ squares to form a Friendship Star.

Baby’s mama wanted white in the border for birthday guests to sign each year so I extended the sashing and stars out to the edge.  It is lightly quilted with an echo around each dress and diagonal lines to mimic the angle of the star arms.




Done and Done!  (even before the birthday!)

hankie quilt sm

Which one is your favorite?

God Bless you, and please pass a tissue.


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Pincushions: We’ve Come a Long Way, Baby

A series of Sister Challenges is driving the FL Sister id tagdesign process for our Linens and Old Lace Collection. The next item on this year’s Sisters Challenge list for that collection is a pin cushion – a category which left us with lots of options. Your first mental image of a pin cushion may be something like this:


tomAto? tomato?

But we have come a loooooong way from that point, baby and it only takes a couple of minutes on Pinterest to find out how far.


LOVE the soft wool! And the old spools!



Don’t you love these happy fabrics?



Up-cycling an old silver sugar bowl!


See what I mean?

My personal collection includes the magnetic disc and a vintage beaded heart and these two from my sister and my sister-in-law (especially reserved for needles.)


Chickens creep into every room in my house.



SLAW Susan can keep those tiny stitches in order in ways I never could!

And when we look at pin cushions from the vintage past we see that creativity and variety has long been present in this category of stitching.


Did your grandma have one of these?


I have to say that makes my feet hurt.


See what I mean? We’ve come a very, very long way.

So to narrow the options a bit for the challenge and make sure our designs had a few things in common, we set some parameters for ourselves:

  • common element: old lace which we choose together
  • required: include wool
  • size: make one big version that can be used for a pin cushion and a small one for a sachet
  • any shape, color, genre
  • old embroidery linens and fabric are optional

That left us with lots of room to make our versions different, too.

  • What shape?
  • How big?
  • Stuffing: with steel wool or wool roving to keep the pins and needles sharp?
  • What about something to weight the pin cushions with: sand or crushed walnut shells or Epsom salt?
  • And how would we put fragrance in the sachet versions: essential oils into the Epsom salt or fresh lavender or maybe perfumed cotton batting?
essential oils

Just a few drops goes a long, long way. Add it to the pin cushion and the sachet.

We’ve had lots of fun in the process and now we are ready to unveil our different yet the same creations.

Can you look at the parts and guess which sister designed which pieces?


The “crazy” sister made this one.


vintage fabric, wool, rickrack, old lace, a vintage buckle and embroidery

(Patterns will follow soon.)

Cover shots for Option #1 & #2:cover-web cover-2-web

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Old Hankies and Rocking Babies

Tutorial Tuesdays header

OK so it isn’t Tuesday, but we were too busy celebrating birthdays and recovering so here it is a few days later. 🙂

I know that tutorials are supposed to be crisp and factual and all business. The other sister reminds me that “Quilts are supposed to be warm and fuzzy. Instructions? Not so much.”

But this idea for old hankies can’t be written that way. It would just be — wrong. So I’ll tell you that this comes with a Warm, Fuzzy Alert!

She entered our quilt show booth with slow purposeful steps. When she saw our basket of hankies I could tell by her face and the soft touch she gave them that they had evoked some very sweet memories. Then because her voice was soft we all came closer to hear the story she offered to us.

One of the best parts of my childhood was that my grandmother would take me to church with her. I loved having her all to myself as I leaned up against her.  Because I was little, it was hard for me to sit still for very long so she taught me how to use one of her hankies to make two rocking babies in a cradle. 

hankie 1

She handed each of us a hankie so we could echo the steps she showed us.

hankie 2

Fold the points in almost to meet in the middle. Roll each end toward the middle.

hankie 3

Roll each end tightly or the “babies” will fall out.

hankie 4

Hold on to the “babies’ heads” while you separate the remaining corner of the hankie and pull the bottom layer up under the babies.

hankie 5

If you have made the first fold carefully you will end up with the pretty corner of the hankie showing.

I’m afraid it’s a lost art so I’m passing it on to you so that it won’t be forgotten.

I’m telling you, it was about more than hankies. She shared her nurturing grandmother with us in the middle of the hustle and bustle of a quilt show.

And it was a sight to see a group of grown women leave the booth with folded hankies, holding the two points trying to make them rock without dropping our “babies!”

What are you doing with your old hankies?

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Lace Languages

Tutorial Tuesdays header

From the royal halls of castles to the humble cottage abode, lace adornments always were and always will be a favorite decor item.  It may adorn a collar or cuff of clothing,


Lace Collar

or grace an arm or back of the chair ,

chair web

Antimacassar Set

possibly a cushion, pillow or curtain

curtain web

Machine made curtain


Hand crocheted portiere

but most certainly it is cherished wherever displayed.

The term “lace” is used to cover a broad spectrum of textures so let’s break it down into a more definable art form.


Tatting: knotted lace made by hand with a shuttle of linen or cotton thread

tatting web

Made by a fellow needle-worker

Crochet: needlework lace done with a needle having a small hook at one end for drawing the thread or yarn through intertwined loops; varied sizes of hooks or thread will alter the appearance greatly


Personalized gift from my nursing home friend. She uses NO patterns.

Irish lace or Irish crochet: very fine steel crochet hook and fine crochet cotton or linen thread. Uses an outline of the pattern on a piece of cloth. The cotton cord is for volume and shaping. The finished motifs are then basted onto a cloth in the shape of the pattern. Is is a raised dimensional design.

Irish web

“Bumpy” doily

Machined lace: mimics several styles of lace but all reproduced by machine; early ones looked like this




Bobbin lace:  lace made by hand with bobbins of thread, the thread being twisted around pins stuck into a pattern placed on a pillow or pad; usually with an elevated pad


Bobbin Lace

Another type of handwork that some refer to as “lace” is actually drawn work; threads of the linen are pulled together to develop a pattern


Mexican Drawnwork

Cut work: cotton or linen, are cut away and the resulting “hole” is reinforced and filled with embroidery or needle lace.


Vintage cut-work set

So whatever you decide to embellish or adorn you can use the term “lace” with confidence. But you should also know that you can never have too much of it.



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A Merry Christmas to All

1vintage-christmas-background_23-2147498074 copy

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My Favorite Things

Broken water lines, flooded floors and forced dislocation from home – these are NOT my favorite things.

But sometimes in the middle of UNfavorite things we encounter the BEST of our favorite things. And that has been the case this last month while this sister navigates through insurance forms and deconstruction deadlines to get to reconstruction. A business trip took us to South Florida where we arrived at just the right time to help Middle Daughter move.


It was time to take a brief break from boxes and enjoy brunch on the beach.

brunch sm

A Favorite Thing with a Favorite Person! Double goodness!

While the final packing was finished, this Nana’s job included Foosball contests (including a “trash talk” competition where “I’m going to sit on your pancake” won over “I’m going to eat your lunch.”), swimming pool duty, many Minion games, and Art Class.

art sm

Sister wanted to draw “me and Momma and Nana packing boxes” while Big Brother wanted to learn how to draw the Really Big Hat Santa from the Holly Jolly collection!

We also had Music class where we listened to “My Favorite Things” 25,000 times in a row and then wrote our own version.  “Sushi and haircuts and ice cream on toesies” has a nice ring to it.

ice cream

Licking ice cream can make the tongue REALLY cold!

Leaving that spot of sunshine is never easy but at least we didn’t have to face the unfinished floors right away. We headed north to the Georgia mountains.


Fall in the mountains !!! Definitely on the Favorite Things list!

Sisters at Heart presented an Orphan Block Trunk Show at Fabrics Galore & Quilting Store in Blairsville on one Saturday morning followed by the Misty Mountain Quilt show on the next weekend. And our booth was right next to our friends from Fabrics Galore!

patricia fabrics galore sm

Patricia showed me these great expandable rulers! And their double binding demo was great.

The high school gym was filled with creativity.

gym 2

What a variety of quilts were hung – and then there was a boutique, too!


gym sm

Challenge Quilts hung around the edge of the mezzanine.


black quilt sm

The vivid colors of this dazzling quilt made it my favorite.


vintage sm

Vintage quilts and linens have long been a Favorite Thing for both Sisters. Watch for more to come this year.


pink work sm

Pink work featuring adorable nursery rhyme figures.


round butterfly sm

This beautiful butterfly captured “Viewers Choice” and the round setting was drafted the old fashioned way – pencil and paper.

I had the joy of meeting Cathi Gainey, owner of Shakerwood Woolens who we will be partnering with on some future wool projects. Her skills with dying wool produce amazing colors! It was definitely a “right time, right place” meeting and we Sisters are excited about working with Cathi – and her wool.

Cathi Gainey Shakerwood Woolens sm

Cathi Gainey – Shakerwood Woolens

And to make the time even more Favorite, we got to have time with life-long friends (at least since college days) at their cabin where the hospitality is warm, the card games loud and the laughter goes on waaay too late.

friends sm

All of these Favorites should keep us humming as we re-enter the hard work of water disaster recovery. As we work hard to finish, I’ve added another verse to the song …..

floors that are finished

walls that are painted

a room where I stitch on my favorite things …..

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It’s Show Time! Quilt-A-Fair 2015

CO Sister id tagHave you ever wondered about what it is like to be the vendor at the local quilt show?

  • The doors burst open with quilting fans from near and far.
  • The oohs and ahhs are clearly heard.
  • Raffle tickets are sold.
  • Lunch is served.
  • Demos are shared.
  • Inspiration abounds.
  • The shoppers leave with bags of “happiness”.

    Shop til you drop.

     Shop til you drop.

So what happens to the vendor during all this excitement?  How did they get from set-up to tear down?  Well, it is a very similar routine for most of us.  Maybe a little backward since we are on the other side of the worktable.

  • We arrive with bags (and boxes and totes and crates) of happiness to share.
  • We’re inspired to set up our booths in the most attractive way possible for a 10′ x 20′ space.

    Where is the diagram for set up?

                    Where is the diagram for set up?

  • We have our demos prepared for the new tools and patterns.
  • We hope we get lunch (but might work right through).
  • We might even get to buy a raffle ticket before the doors open.
  • The grunts and groans of “hired help” are plainly heard.
"Hired Help"

                                  “Hired Help”

  • The doors, trailers, trunks and tailgates are finely empty and it is SHOWTIME!
New Pattern: Just Ducky

                   New Pattern: Just Ducky

New Pattern: Holly Jolly

                          New Pattern: Holly Jolly

The only thing about shows (and life) is what do you do about the pesky neighbors?  Just kidding, even sisters get to be neighbors at the best of shows!

Sisters' Neighboring Booth

                    Sister 2’s Neighboring Booth

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Tangled Threads of Thought

Threads of thoughts to enrich your day – or maybe bring you a smile.

Be forewarned, though, our threads of  thought are sometimes tangled.

a sistert at hand

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PANIC! No-Stop-Wait!

This was to be the countdown week to the most fun of the year.  Sisters together week at the quilt show.  Instead, we are counting the number of times we almost had a panic attack.  And it is only Tuesday.


The first time was when Sister 1 flew into Denver and found that she might have to borrow clothes for the week from Sister 2.  Panic was avoided when the airlines found the lost luggage.


The next time we almost reached for the panic button was when Sister 2 showed Sister 1 what she found in the yard on her walk yesterday.  Sister 2 decided not to panic but they were NOT going to go walking, instead they would start packing.  snake

All seemed to be going well.  You could say we thought we had our ducks all in a row. (HINT: See the new pattern Just Ducky at the show.) ducks

Suddenly, both sisters realized that the newest pattern was missing a FULL PAGE of pattern!  Yikes!  Panic!  No, stop, wait… With today’s technology, we found the file “on the cloud”, emailed the jpg to the local printer (90 miles away)  and will insert while we set up.  So now our boots are in the bag (HINT: See our newest pattern at the show)!


Come see Sisters At Heart, Miles Apart at the Colorado Quilt-a-Fair. Info from CQC site is posted below.

September 25, 26, 2015
9:00 am to 5:00 pm
Boulder County Fairgrounds
9595 Nelson Rd, Longmont, CO

Quilt-a-Fair is held annually on the 4th Friday and Saturday of September at the Boulder County Fairgrounds in Longmont, Colorado.  Our admission is $5.00 each day (children under 10 admitted free), hours are 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. both days, and parking is free.  Friday Only: No strollers allowed.  A concessionaire sells food and non-alcoholic drinks on site and there is a large hospitality area for eating in.

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